- Before his appointment, the 39-year-old Democrat served as a deputy chief at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California.
Early this month, California Gov. Gavin Newsom appointed Vibhav Mittal of Yorba Linda, to serve as a judge in the Orange County Superior Court, making him the first Indian American to serve in the position. He fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Ronald L. Bauer.
Before his appointment, the 39-year-old Democrat served as a deputy chief at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California, where he also served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney. “In addition to charging and trying criminal cases in federal court, Judge Mittal supervised five federal prosecutors and served as the office’s public corruption coordinator and civil rights co-coordinator for Orange County,” per a South Asian Bar Association (SABA) press release.
Mittal joined the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California in 2011. According to his profile on the UC Irvine School of Law website, since then, Mittal has been “lead counsel on 13 trials, including matters involving public corruption, financial fraud, hacking, trademark infringement, child exploitation, immigration crimes, and drug trafficking.” In the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, “Mittal has argued six times and filed over 20 appellate briefs,” the profile added. Mittal also served on the office’s Diversity Committee and Hiring Committee.
Prior to becoming a federal prosecutor, Mittal was a field organizer and Campaign Fellow for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in 2010. Before that, he served as a law clerk for the Honorable Amul Thapar, when he sat on the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky. Earlier he worked at Quinn Emanuel LLP in San Francisco on patent and trade secret litigation.
In addition to charging and trying criminal cases in federal court, Mittal was a Department of Justice (“DOJ”) Ambassador for UCI School of Law and NYU School of Law. Mittal has trained attorneys on trial issues like jury selection and responding to jury notes. In addition, Mittal has taught trial advocacy to new federal prosecutors from across the country at the DOJ’s National Advocacy Center.
Per SABA, Mittal “has a long history of service to the South Asian legal community.” He has been a SABA-SC member since 2012, served as SABA-SC’s Judicial Evaluations co-chair from 2014 to 2018, and served as treasurer for SABA-PIF from 2012 to 2014. He is currently on the Orange County Bar Association’s Diversity Committee. He has coached the mock trial team at Segerstrom High School in Santa Ana since 2014.
Mittal received his law degree from the New York University School of Law. Before going to law school, he worked in the semiconductor industry. He has a B.S. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences and a B.A. in Political Science from the University of California, Berkeley.